Kolkata jail inmates to take to the stage
Kolkata, Feb 28 : In an initiative aimed at pushing jail inmates into finding meaning in their lives, 26 actors drawn from various correctional homes in the city will stage an English play here March 9.
"They should be given an opportunity to understand that life has a meaning and that they are still useful. The play will motivate them to find meaning in their life, and show a different side to their personality," Ranvir Kumar, West Bengal inspector general, Correctional Services, told reporters.
"This is for the first time an English play by inmates is being staged in the country," said Kumar.
Four women and 22 men will act in "Begum Sumroo", written by the late Pratap Sharma. It will be staged at the G.D. Birla Sabhagar here.
The inmates from Women's Correctional home, Presidency Correctional home and Alipore Central Correctional home have been trained by Rohit Pombra, artistic director of Stagecraft, a city based English language theatre group.
"They have been training for a year and 10 months. They have worked very hard, not only in terms of acting on stage, but also in terms of clearing their phonetics and concepts about the play," said Kumar.
"We do not expect inmates to speak English, especially female inmates. Male inmates you can still find," added Kumar, adding that the initiative was "a bold step" by the state's department of correctional services.
"My motivation was the challenge it presented. Their lives are different from ours; it's not easy for them. At every stage there have been handicaps. This kind of experience will lend them the confidence and support to become better citizens," added Stagecraft's Pombra.